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Pilot action to foster sustainable NEXUS innovation & co-development in the Mediterranean and Africa

In the framework of the 5TOI_4EWAS project, the  “Pilot action to foster sustainable NEXUS innovation & co-development in the Mediterranean and Africa”  document provides evidence about a needed pilot action preparing the emergence of a structured and sustainable NEXUS innovation and co-development area in the Mediterranean area as well as in Africa. Co-development actions target specific marketable solutions that could – in an integrated and synergetic way as described by the NEXUS approach –be adapted to social, societal and economical needs in those geographical regions most affected by climate change and development challenges. With this respect, innovation can arise by multiple sources or multiple paths such as: thinking with a different perspective, integrating different technologies to solve integrated and co-related problems, organizing new institutions of governance, writing new narratives regarding development, integrating and using tried and tested technologies and tools in new contexts and educating citizens at the local level. Innovation is mandatory for adapting generic technologies to specific regional targets and the latter, in turn, constitute a strong driver of innovation in general. In this process, North-South as well as South-South and public-private collaborations are supposed to be proving beneficial to all parties and favour the emergence of a common regional clean-tech market, while a coordinated EU policy is an essential factor for establishing and maintaining virtuous dynamics to reach this objective. This was recognised in the recent EC communication “Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation” which states, amongst actions to promote the Leveraging Europe’s global role, that ‘the Commission will work with Member States to launch one or two joint deployment programmes in developing countries in the areas of energy efficiency and renewables, with a focus on Africa as a privileged partner…’, those programmes being expected to ‘couple research and innovation with capacity building in the host country’ and to link the innovation and social innovation capacity with the change in behaviors. Also the EC communication, “The EU approach to resilience: Learning from Food Security crises”, recognizes the need that the EU Agenda for Change has to prioritise cooperation in sustainable agriculture, including the safeguarding of ecosystem services and food and nutrition security in the EU’s future long-term development assistance” spotting the strong linkage between sustainable food and ecosystem. In this regard, it is evident that sustainability can be pursued only by a strong and rigorous respect, amongst others, of the Water Framework Directive.These policies are supported by several other studies and activities done in the last years regarding the need to get on the policy agenda the water, food and energy nexus.